Regress and war : the case of the DRCongoRegress and war : the case of the DRCongo
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Political Economy of the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa
Institute of Development Policy and Management - other
European journal of development research. - London, 1989, currens
15(2003):1, p. 73-98
University of Antwerp
The New York - based International Rescue Committee (IRC) estimates that, by the end of 2001. the indirect death toll in the ongonig war in central Africa - the first international armed conflict the continent had seen.. had reached 2.5 million. In this media-silent war, which began in August 1998. people were killed not so much by bullets, but by an amazing lark of concern on the part of the occupying armies, rebel organisations and armed resistance groups. and by the ambiguous attitude adopted by the international community. Politically, various groups were aligned in ever-changing alliances that were devoid of any long-term ideology or strategy. In the present article, we argue instead that the international war in Central Africa can only be understood as an intricate cluster of phenomena. The Iong-term erosion of elite power and finance in some parts of Africa. occasioned by a changing geopolitical reality in the continent, sparked divergent responses, ranging from state reconstruction in some countries to resistance, criminalisation and war in other. The latter response would appear to be most common in weak states with deteriorating infrastructures and rich natural resources which were extracted on a small scale by petty producers. This would seem to give credence to the assertion that nature riches are a curse rather than a blessing. The above argument also runs against the deep-rooted conviction that Africa's underdevelopment is a consequence of the international economic environment and globalisation processes. We submit that Africa is being strangled by a lack of serious foreign investment rather than by a new scramble for the continent's natural resources.